You will spend months trying to find the right dress, makeup, and hairstyle, but don't forget that your hands will garner plenty of wedding-day attention and that your feet should look sandal-perfect until the last day of the honeymoon.
When to Start
Try to begin your hand- and foot-care regimen at least six months before the wedding. Start by looking for manicurists and pedicurists at nail salons, spas, full-service beauty salons, or department stores. Visit the same person weekly or every other week for manicures and monthly for pedicures. Keep in mind that each service takes about 30 minutes; it's wise to allow another 15 minutes for the polish to dry. If both services are scheduled for the same visit, the feet are usually done first so that the toenails will have extra drying time before the shoes are replaced.
The consensus for wedding-day fingernails is pale shades. "The contrast between a white dress and a dark fingernail is too strong," says Rodica Badescu, manicurist and pedicurist at Mario Badescu Skin Care in New York City. The trend now is pink washes, white washes, and pale-pastel shimmers versus the chalkier French manicure.
When it comes to feet, the summer bride who sports a sandal or open-toe shoe may want to match her pale fingers to toes, but there are no hard-and-fast rules. Lisa Jachno, a manicurist in Los Angeles, even suggests a pale-azure shimmer for a playful "something blue."
For brides with very dry skin, extra professional care may be in order. Victoria Gheorghias, an esthetician at Frederic Fekkai Beaute de Provence in New York City, recommends professional sea-salt scrubs to exfoliate dead skin and improve circulation to hands and feet, or paraffin-wax treatments, which use a warm wax enriched with vitamin E to restore a healthy glow.
At-Home Pre-wedding Maintenance
To keep hands and feet in the best shape between appointments, Ji Baek, owner of Rescue Aromatherapy Nail Spa in New York City, suggests a simple regimen: "A little extra time spent each day at home will yield the greatest results. If you are spending 15 minutes a week on your nails now, spend 10 minutes a day pre-wedding." After you exfoliate, make sure to moisturize your skin. Once a week, apply oil or balm to your hands and feet and cover them in plastic wrap, or wrap them in warm, wet towels to trap moisture in.
To care for cuticles, simply push them back with your fingernails after showering. "Any kind of trimming should only be done by a professional," advises Baek. Technicians should also be the ones to do any filing, except for fixing the occasional snag or tear. "Keeping nails at a manageable length, about one-quarter inch over the tip, helps to minimize breaking and splitting," advises Jachno. In addition, Badescu recommends always keeping "at least one coat of polish on your nails to protect them from daily wear, soaps, and detergents." If you don't want to apply color, use a protein-enriched nail strengthener twice a week, but don't overuse it; too much can make your nails brittle.
With at-home upkeep and regular salon maintenance, your nails and skin should be in excellent shape for your wedding. A day or two beforehand, enjoy the pampering of your last pre-wedding manicure and pedicure, and leave yourself plenty of extra time for drying. After all that time and care, you don't want to risk even the slightest smudge.